By Jeff Nations
QUICKSBURG -- Millbrook High School boys soccer coach Keith Kilmer didn't need much of a scouting report on Friday night.
Even though the Pioneers had never played host Stonewall Jackson before, Kilmer had a pretty good idea of what his team was up against. After all, four of the Generals top players -- Roberto Cardoso Jr., Ryan Zerkel, Jonas Jacuinde and Leonel Galindez -- played for Kilmer's Winchester United travel team this past year.
"I knew it was going to be tight, just because I have four of those guys on my travel team," Kilmer said. "My travel team was No. 4 in the state. They were a big part of that, so coming in we knew they had pieces that were really nice. We didn't know what else they'd have, but they begged for the game in the offseason so we set it all up in the offseason and we got it."
Millbrook (2-1) dominated possession for the most part, scoring two second-half goals and applying much of the night's pressure to pick up a 2-0 victory and deal Stonewall its first regular season loss since the Generals dropped a 3-1 decision to Central back on March 23, 2012.
"There just wasn't a whole lot of movement with us tonight," Generals coach Caleb Golladay said. "It definitely wasn't a whole lot of anything going on in the midfield tonight for us. It just wasn't clicking."
Afterward, Golladay said his team seemed a bit nervous playing in their season opener, which might explain the uncharacteristically passive play. Facing a program two classifications higher -- Millbrook is 4A -- could have added to that, but Zerkel wasn't buying that.
"Classification's really nothing -- it's just a size," said Zerkel, Stonewall's senior goalkeeper. "But yeah, it's a good team to go out and face early. We could've done better, but we've got to work harder for that."
Cardoso played Stonewall's most dangerous ball just eight minutes into the contest, when he sent a rising shot toward the net that Millbrook freshman goalkeeper Christopher Kozlowski plucked from the air for a save.
The Pioneers managed most of what pressure there was after that, and with 23:29 left in the first half Millbrook's Esteban Melivilu converted the game's first goal when he headed a throw-in to the penalty box backward and inside the left post.
Zerkel came up with a big save with just less than seven minutes left in the first half on Rody Diyoka's shot from inside the penalty box, but the junior midfielder got even just seconds before the break. On a run through the penalty area, Diyoka split two defenders and then chipped a rising shot with the outside of his foot that sailed into the upper right corner. It was Diyoka's first goal this season.
"We were stronger and we also possessed the ball more," Diyoka said. "We had more attacking options. They had good players, but as a whole we were just better at least on possession."
Stonewall Jackson (0-1) didn't muster much of an attack in the second half, partly due to injuries to starters Rafael Pedro Zuniga and Jacuinde. Millbrook outshot the Generals 13-3 over the final 40 minutes and held an overall advantage of 17-6 in the game. Cardoso, Stonewall's most dangerous scorer, was effectively marked all night by Millbrook's Cristopher Lockley.
"At times in practice we've got some really good stuff and some really good movement going," Golladay said. "Tonight the passing wasn't there. That's what Stonewall soccer is about. That's what it's been about for the past decade -- it's a passing game. And tonight it was a bunch of kickball between both teams."
Zerkel finished with six saves for Stonewall, and Kozlowski had three saves for the Pioneers.
"I have high expectations for this team," Kilmer said. "They have high expectations for themselves. We'll see how far they go. They've just got to put a complete game together, and they still haven't done that. We have those down moments, and we've got to stop that."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>